The apostles gathered together with Jesus and reported all they had done and taught. He said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” People were coming and going in great numbers, and they … Continue reading
On her delightful blog “Monique Ocampo Writes” (which can be found at Patheos), a friend of mine asks: How do I pray? She describes her prayer routine, favorite devotions, things that help and things she struggles with. She examines the process of prayer and each person’s individual approach then finally asks her readers, “How do you pray?”
Here is my answer:
How do I pray?
My daily prayer routine is the Divine Office: Lauds, Noonday prayer, Vespers and Compline. If I get up early enough or wake up in the middle of the night, I do Office of Readings. My breviary is one of my favorite devotions because it opens up the word of God and immerses you in the emotions conveyed in the Psalms. It teaches you how to speak with God.
Singing is one of my favorite prayer forms so I get that into the Divine Office. I love singing in Latin, and praying in Latin. There is a background story to my love for this language, it is what made me interested in the Catholic Church! Sometimes when reciting the Divine Office on special feast days, I will burn candles and light incense. It clears my mind and imparts the tranquility of one sitting at the feet of God.
My best prayers are done before the Blessed Sacrament. There I can draw close to the heart of Jesus. It is really spending time with the One I love. My mind and heart are cleared so I can ponder God’s loveliness, evaluate the things of the spiritual world and see that I’m being asked to do. Staring into the lovely face of Jesus, I can unload all my problems and worries or I can shower praises on him, whatever strikes me at the moment. I make it to adoration once a month, which is definitely NOT enough at all but that’s what the local parishes offer. Therefore, I try to visit the tabernacle as much as possible, every day if possible.
I do a rosary every day but really struggle with it. It’s very difficult for me to stay focused on the mysteries and to find new things in them. Offering each decade up for a specific intention or looking at pictures helps me. Spreading devotion to the rosary is a big deal, if you need one, I have tons laying around at any given moment. I’ll teach you how to pray it too.
My spiritual life revolves around the Eucharist, the priesthood and the Mass. The sacrifice of Christ and his abiding presence are the pillars that hold me up. I take all my joys and sufferings and unite them to the sacrifice of the altar. The idea of the priest as “alter Christus” another Christ, helps me see God working in the world in a special way, offering freedom to sin-sick souls.
I can get very passionate and even stubborn about the Mass. The rituals and prayers of the liturgy are for me a profound display of Jesus’s love for us. Smells and bells? Yes please! It is important for me to retain continuity with the Church’s tradition and not to vex people with too many innovations that might interfere with the lessons God wishes to teach us.
I try to attend Mass three times a week or more. As I work until 11 at night, it’s hard for me to get up early. God has given me a special vocation to pray and intercede for his priests. It seems he may be calling me to religious life (pleased pray for me as I discern!)
Mary is very important to me, as a convert I still have difficulty relating to her. She is so perfect and beautiful. I also did the Marian consecration on the feast of the Immaculate Conception. The cathedral I was confirmed in was named for the Immac. Conception. The scapular I wear is the blue one, also for the Immac. Conception. See a pattern here?
St Hildegard is my patron saint. I chose her because of her brilliance and mystical relationship with God. St. Aloysius, John Paul II, St. Theresa of Avila, St. Philomena and St Therese are special to me, also St John the Evangelist whom I see as the perfect icon of the Catholic priest. My favorite ministries are youth ministry, catechism and anything involving the Eucharist. My favorite feast day is- you guessed it, Corpus Christi! My motto is: “All Eucharist, all the time!”
Now is the time to ask you: “How do you pray?”
Awake, watching, praying, before he would make his sacrifice on that hallowed day, Jesus, Our Lord, thought of us. His one possession, his chosen people, his beloved Bride, he lifted up before the face of His Father. For the whole of humanity, he heaved and sighed. Having all the glory of true God and true man, he makes himself small, meek, vulnerable. His human nature shivers, beholding the divine. His divine nature gazes with compassion on the human.
The sinless, loaded with our burdens, the deathless, tasting our brokenness and the immutable, amidst our world of frivolity, hatred and chaos. Our Savior! Our pleading, praying Savior! How did he feel when pondering the cross to come, trembling in his vestments of flesh before history’s greatest sacrifice? His churning soul felt all our fear, our insecurities, toils, needs and longings. His strong hands which crafted, carved, blessed, absolved, fed the poor, cured the sick, drove out demons, folded most-lovingly. Our sweet oblation bowed his sweet head.
O pleading Savior, beg freedom for your people in exile. Make our prayers your very own!
Clouds of sweet incense hung in the air. The small chapel was dimly lit, almost dark except for a few candles, which guarded the altar. They cast golden light on my face as I eyed the little, covered tabernacle seated … Continue reading
They are traditional Catholics, lovers of everything laden with Latin, incense and chant. Their expressive piety within the sanctuary earns them the label “holier than thou”. Their fine attention to liturgy earns their reputation as sticklers. Their study of the … Continue reading
Skipping through the hymnal, I stumbled upon “Parce Nobis Domine”. As if spurred on by compulsion, I sang the notes slowly and mournfully. My eyes drifted up to the tabernacle. Bright noonday sun bleached its dull bronze surface a fine … Continue reading
Meek, gentle, pure, your beauty makes the heart ache. Holy warmth radiates from your figure, fair and white. I wish to embrace. Longing fills the deepest void, to make all that is yours, my own. and all that is my … Continue reading
The hectic sounds of the television, the clattering of my father washing dishes and the general noisiness of the house overwhelmed me. Scrunching the rosary in my hand, I fled outdoors. No jacket, no shoes, just me and the quiet night. I sat down on the door-stoop and continued praying. My mind returned to the rhythmic prayers, the mysteries of Christ. Some noise from the street echoed over me- then the distant and soft sound of Christmas carols. It sounded like people singing very far away. Perhaps I was hallucinating but no, I distinctly heard the melody: “Noel, Noel..”
In a hurry, I rose up and bolted into the front yard. Yes, there was music! I ran towards the source in a fury, bare feet pounded the pavement (ouch). Coming to the street, I paused and caught my breath. My ears stretched to locate the noise. It was gone. Completely gone. I walked to and fro in an attempt to pick up the sound, any sound. But it had vanished quickly as it come, like a specter in the night. Sadness flooded my heart as I sulked back towards the house. Blue stars twinkled overhead. I imagined the Magi who wandered in search of light. Was I looking for what they were looking for? I had taken off into the night, my soul aching for something extraordinary, for something miraculous, for Christmas.
I wait for thee.
Come to deliver me,
Be cool water to the tip
of my tormented tongue.
Come, O Strong One
on eagle’s wings, bear me
from this exile,
safe at last
into the land of my fathers.
Surely, as dawn light
comes after dark,
our Savior shall arise.
My hope is in the Lord,
He fails not.
November, 19, 2014 A sting of pain plucked my heart as I looked at Father more closely. Hunched over in his chair, his vestments falling in droopy folds, he listened calmly to the Old Testament reading. He looked too calm, … Continue reading